To receive a presentation on the proposals for Edmonton Green Shopping Centre.
The Forum received a presentation on the proposals for Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. Copies of the slides are attached to the agenda.
The following points were highlighted during the presentation:
· Edmonton Green Shopping Centre was owned by Crosstree, a small London based investment and development company, which also owned fifty percent of the O2 centre in North Greenwich as well as other developments across London.
· The owners were hands on. They were working with well-known architects and top professional teams with the aim of creating a good development for the local people living in Edmonton.
· The last 9 months had been very tough for the business, but the best performing asset had been the Edmonton Green Shopping Centre.
· Since taking ownership of the centre two years ago, many improvements had been put in place. Four separate engagement events had been held. Initially some short-term measures had been carried out, including improving customer welfare and family facilities, removing charges and building a playground. A second stage had included creating a new branding, a way finding strategy, a deep clean, some refurbishment, redecoration, improved lighting, and new seating areas. A third event had invited people to put forward ideas for a large scale redevelopment. This had been followed up with a final consultation event on the new proposals. The new designs had been popular.
· The market had been a key focus throughout. The centre contained a diverse range of shops but few of the high street brands. There was room for improvement; for a wider range of food and drink outlets; for places to bring people together; for measures to make people feel safer; to create new homes and for more greenery. The developers had spoken to many people including locals, retailers and organisations.
· During the first lockdown the centre had continued to perform reasonably well and had returned to 88% of footfall after the first lockdown.
· Ninety seven percent of the centre was currently occupied. Crosstree were keen to keep local independent retailers and had done everything that they could to provide proactive local support.
· The plans for the new development included a total of 750 new homes with a mix of tenancies and ownerships.
· The three tower blocks and Asda did not belong to Crosstree and could not be included in the redevelopment plans although there were plans to improve the residential entrances to the tower blocks to reduce crime and anti social behaviour and link them into the main development.
· The shopping centre was a brutalist structure originally built in the 1960’s and 70’s and there were now problems with the physical fabric of the building.
· It was set within the historic environment of Church Street and the busy Fore Street but was set apart, it did not engage socially and architecturally with its surroundings and was not a safe place to be outside of the 9-5 shopping hours.
· There were many good aspects such as the central location and connectedness to public transport hubs, both bus and train.
· The market was a key driver and they hoped to build on this making it a central feature of the new development.
· All the buildings will eventually be replaced (although not all at once) and a new layout introduced, making it easier to cross the site from east to west and north to south.
· The intention was to break down the scale and create new streets, squares and open places, new shops and offices with residential properties above.
· There would be a new link with the library to connect to Plevna Road and park, a new entrance near the bus station. Shopping activity would be moved westward with more residential building provided in the north.
· There were plans to create attractions at both ends to encourage movement through a central high street. In the south a new market building in a square beside Asda and in the north a new leisure box with cinema and possibly bowling alley.
· Residents would have front doors on to the street and the landscape would be greened with lots of new trees, raised gardens and play areas.
· The Green Towers community centre would be reintegrated into the development as well as the library to improve the civic facilities of the area and there were also plans for an additional community hub with health centre.
· Thirty five percent of the new housing would be affordable with fifty one percent across the whole site. The new buildings would be a range of heights from 4 storey, several 8-9 storeys and one 30 storey tower.
· Night time uses were to be encouraged. This would also improve safety.
· The whole development would be phased in over 10-15 years.
2.1 Although footfall at the centre was high, spend per person was low. The centre could not support the larger retail chain stores like Marks and Spencer or Primark. This needed to change.
2.2 Concern about the prospect of a 30 storey building which would stand far above the surroundings and resulting issues of social cohesion.
2.3 It was not anticipated that satellite dishes would be a problem as a central facility would be provided.
2.4 There was a need to create a more mixed community which would support a wider range of shops. There would be new properties which would be affordable for nurses and teachers on a low salary.
2.5 Currently there were 1,000 parking spaces but only 600-650 of these were used, even at peak times. The spare capacity would be utilised more intelligently. The roof top car park at Asda was not used at present but there were plans to incorporate a ramp to the roof and to replace the multi-storey car park.
2.6 Some concern was expressed that a lot of money had recently been spent on Edmonton Green Library, but the plans for creation of a new library were for stage 3 of the proposals in 8-10 years time, so this would not be wasted.
2.7 There would be a mix of housing unit typologies, but these would predominately be apartments.
2.8 A large amount of greening would be created and 250-300 new trees planted, following planning guidance. The development would be based on sustainable urban drainage schemes with podium gardens.
2.9 Support for the improvements which Crosstree had bought in already and welcome for the potential investment. A quality development was needed. It was felt to be important to retain the small/medium sized family businesses and to keep things that make the centre special such as the market.
2.10 There was some concern about the long timescale and the lack of detail on the drawings shown.
2.11 There was a need for a high-quality design in all phases of the development and to make sure that the plans for phase 2 and 3 could not be changed significantly, later on.
2.12 The plan was a hybrid with a masterplan for the whole area and a detailed planning application for phase 1. The consultation will be on the whole development. There were design standards to be met at each phase. The Council’s Design Review Panel would have a role.
2.13 The planning application had been submitted and planning officers were working with Crosstree on the documentation. A 30 day consultation process was due to start in the following week. This would include more information and detailed drawings.
2.14 Concern was expressed about the high rise building which would be a blot on the landscape. The Local Plan had not listed this as a suitable location for high rise buildings. More detailed elevations were needed to assess how they would fit into the surroundings.
2.15 More information was needed on how the plans would preserve and enhance local heritage assets.
2.16 In response to the concern expressed about impending changes in leasehold legislation and how this would impact on the development, members were informed that this would not have an impact on this development.
2.18 The developers did have to optimise the density of the buildings on the site but were keen to provide quality homes for people and would be following best practice guidance.
2.19 Crosstree would be doing analysis on the impact on views and would be working with officers to ensure that they had the right balance between optimising the number of units and enabling the buildings to sit well into the townscape and area. It was possible to have good quality tall buildings. They were committed to ensuring that they would be well integrated into the surroundings with good entrances that would provide integration and discourage crime.
2.20 The cost of the whole development was in the realm of £600m. There was some concern that this figure was not immediately available.
2.21 Concern that this development would not meet the need for three bedroom family homes.
2.22 Concern that because the development was envisaged over a 15 year period that a lot could change over time and that the promised benefits would not materialise. It would be good to have some assurances that this would not happen, perhaps in the form of a financial bond. Minor amendments along the way could also have a cumulative negative impact.
2.23 Sarah Cary advised that Council’s could not compel development can only grant planning permission and agree permissions. The local authority could use section 106 agreements attached to planning permissions to enable the provision of social facilities such as new schools and landscaping schemes.
2.24 There are planning and legal tools to secure benefits and make sure financial contributions were secured such as the replacement of the library and community centre.
2.25 Concern about the ability of the local authority to match the expertise and resources of such a large development.
3. Summing Up
The Chair thanked the presenters and everyone for their contributions to the discussion. She summed up as follows:
The investment in Edmonton Green was welcome but there were a mixture of views amongst the Environment Forum representatives and there were concerns as follows:
· Members wanted some guarantee that infrastructure promises would be honoured.
· That the affordable housing figures would stack up and would be adhered to.
· Concerns about high rise living and social cohesion.
· Concerns about how the scheme would meet the borough’s need for 3 bed family homes.
· Concerns about how to ensure that all three phases of the development would be completed when the powers of the planners were limited and how to avoid the economic cycle’s ups and downs.
· Concerns to ensure that a heritage impact assessment on the three neighbouring conservation areas was carried out.
· Concerns as to whether Enfield Council had the resources and expertise to deal with such a huge development.
· Concerns that this area had not been highlighted for high-rise development in the Local Plan.
· The need for strong mechanisms to control the development meets the promises made through control documents such as design codes, parameter documents and section 106 agreements.
The consultation on the application had yet to start and there was still lots of time to input.
POST MEETING NOTE: The Edmonton Green planning application reference is 20/04187/OUT. It can be viewed on the Council’s online planning register. Consultation is open until 24 February.